Comic Cons are events held all over the world where fans of movies, comics and games can see and purchase all sorts of collectibles, meet some of the actors from their favourite film and most importantly meet other fans and dress up in their own costumes which they've spent months making.This is known as CosPlay. Cosplayers come from all over the world and some I photographed this time were from Norway and Lithuania. In London there are three main events each year including the one I went to over the summer bank holiday which is held at the ExCel exhibition centre in the Docklands area of East London.
I took one lens with me, my favourite Canon 50mm f1.2 which I love for how it throws backgrounds out of focus even though it isn't the sharpest lens in my tool kit. It was only after a friend mentioned it that I realised I could have taken my Hasselblad CFE 80mm f2.8 with an adaptor to fit it to my Canon camera. Next time I will for sure because it produces beautiful results when I can nail the manual focus. The rest of my back pack was filled with my Elinchrom ELB400 kit and mini portalite octabox.
I think it's a year since my last Comic Con and I have to admit to having become a little spoilt in the intervening months. I shoot so many great models wearing great clothes that I'm no longer willing to settle for less than great cosplay costumes. Looking back through my library of cosplay images I also realised that my best shots were the ones where the cosplayer didn't look as if they were at a Con(vention). And so this time round I took my time to get shooting. It was a much busier event than last time so finding the gems was a little harder. The hot day also meant lot's of people were enjoying the outdoor area around ExCel and thus made finding great, uncluttered backgrounds trickier. I was hot in a tshirt & jeans so the people dressed up in full on costumes must have been roasting. Just think Chewbacca or Storm Troopers and you'll sympathise too.
As is often the case in real life things are better done with friends, and this was no different. Especially when your friends are better at taking that first step to approach and ask a cosplayer for a portrait. Thanks to Radek, Stephen & Rod and the art of the "ask" we soon got going. My contribution to the team was the ELB400 and a reflector. All the photographs we took were great but I really do love that kick of light from the ELB to give the subjects a bit of Pop in the image. When it came to the select and edit I found it much quicker and simpler to get a great result if the flash had been used. Mostly because the separation of the cosplayer from the background had already been achieved in camera. Fantastic. I love it. Not all my shots were with the ELB, so see if you can see the difference. List at the bottom of this post ;)
So, Karianne, Lena, the large one of Gemma and Freddie Mercury didn't use flash. All the rest did. Could you see the "Pop"?